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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.
laya, the rain-fall is much greater at the eastern extremity of
the chain than it is to the westward. Hence Western Tibet
is considerably drier than Eastern Tibet; indeed, the lower
part of the course of the Indus, where that river enters the
Panjab plain, is situated in a rainless climate; but the lower
part of ihe course of the Yarn,, where under the name of the
Dihong it joins the Brahmaputra, lies in one of the rainiest
climates of the globe.
The chain of the Kouenlun, where it forms the northern
boundary of Western Tibet, is not less elevated than the Hi-
malaya, and is covered throughout a great part of its length
with perpetual snow. Its axis has not been crossed by any
European traveller, but has been reached by Dr. Thomson,
who visited the Karakoram Pass, elevated 18,800 feet. This
chain has been called the Mus-tagh, Karakoram, Hindu Kush,
and Tsungling or Onion mountains (from the prevalence of a
species of Allium); it is also the Belur-tagh,* which (accord-
ing to Cunningham) is synonymous with C( Balti mountains,"
and its continuation forms the Pamir range west of Yarkand.
In Western Tibet, the axis of this chain is in general distant
about 150 miles from the Himalaya, and the country between
the two consists of a complication of ranges of lofty and rugged
mountains, separated from one another by stony valleys, which
on the higher parts of the courses of the rivers expand at in-
tervals into alluvial plains.
The Indus, near its source, has an elevation of 18,000 feet,
and where it debouches on the plains of the Panjab it is ele-
vated only 1000 feet. At Le it is 10,500 feet, and at Iskardo
7200 feet. Below 10,000 feet, the summer heat, from the ab-
sence of rain, is intense, and the Tibetan flora becomes more
Sindian and Persian in character. West of Kashmir and the
great peak of Dayamar, the Himalaya diminishes rapidly in
elevation, and allows access to the humid atmosphere, which
is condensed on the first ranges of Tibet with which it comes
* Tlie Bulut-Tag (or Cloud Mountains) of Captain H. Strachoy, who confines
the 1orm to the range oast of Samarkand and south of Ehok&ucl